NAO asked to investigate ‘phenomenal sum’ government spent on Malta Film Awards

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola on Tuesday wrote to Auditor General Charles Deguara asking him to investigate the government’s expenditure on the Malta Film Awards held on Saturday.

In his letter, Cassola questioned whether the declared amount spent on the event was really that declared by the government – €400,000 – an “already-phenomenal amount when taking into consideration that the Malta Film Commission has an annual budget of €600,000”.

Cassola listed several factors that point to a potentially higher sum, including the amount spent to hire presenter David Walliams, the cost to import equipment, and the “reluctance of Film Commissioner Johann Grech to be transparent about the costs.”

Such factors, he said, “strengthen the suspicion that the budget was more than was declared”.

Meanwhile, Matthew Caruana Galizia also announced on Monday that the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation will be filing a Freedom of Information request to find out how much Walliams has cost the Commission.

In a tweet, Caruana Galizia tagged Walliams and asked him to tell everyone how much he was paid to speak at the event. “We’re filing an FOI request for your invoice to Malta, but I was wondering whether you could just cut to the chase and tell us how much you were paid to speak at what was turned into a party-political event,” Caruana Galizia said.

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